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How to rebook a United flight cancellation without sitting on hold

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This article was last updated Dec 19, 2016, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.

If your flight on United is cancelled, there’s not much to sugarcoat, but there are some ways the United app and site can put you in control without being at the mercy of phone or airport agents.

It’s a must to have the United app downloaded and handy during your trip.

Once you’ve installed it and logged in, you’ll see a red notification that your flight has been cancelled…


You’ll then see if United automatically rebooked you on another flight, and if you don’t like the option you can choose ‘View other flights’ to check more options.


You’ll get to choose a travel date up to 3 days later and then you’ll get a chance to pick alternate airports nearby to include in your search.

Just beware that if you pick an alternate airport United won’t arrange transportation from the new airport to your original airport – you’re on your own if you pick an alternate airport. Think of it as a way to get within driving distance in dire situations when you can’t wait a day or two.


Then you’ll see available flights…and can click on ‘Confirmed seat’ to lock in a new one.


And you’ll get one last look before you click ‘accept new itinerary’ and finalize the rebooking.


That’s it – you’re rebooked and best of luck not getting cancelled again.

If you are near a computer, you can also pull up the same feature on United.com. Just go through the online check-in process.


And when you review your current details you’ll see a notice your flight has been cancelled. Click the ‘search flights’ button to get to the rebooking page.


Then you’ll get the option to choose alternate airports and dates up to 3 days ahead.


And once you see something that works, you’ll have one more screen before you have to lock it in.


That’s it.

Sometimes the option to change flights won’t appear until United has made its first attempt to rebook you. But if you don’t see it at all, then you’re stuck calling United and spending time on hold.

If you’re at the airport, our best advice is to call while you stand in line for a ticket agent, and be polite but firm when you ask for alternatives.

In a jam, United might rebook you on other airlines like American or Delta if that will get you to your destination significantly faster than a United option, but there’s no hard and fast rule on that, and you usually have to push kindly, but firmly to get that to happen.

And if you end up stuck overnight, be sure to save receipts and file a claim with your credit card’s trip delay coverage to get reimbursed, because United won’t pay for hotels if your flight is cancelled due to weather or related issues.

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